How to Express Condolence

When a loved one or close friend passes, we reflect on the life of the deceased. Even if the person who died isn’t close to us but merely a friend, associate, or acquaintance, we contemplate life in relation to our own fragility and appreciate the blessings bestowed upon us. Knowing that one day, any day, all of our possessions will be left behind, and we breathe farewell to family as our soul journey to a higher realm.

Death is part of life. That’s what I hear often. I also listen to people say, “I don’t know what to say” – to family members or friends in their time of grief. Saying I’m sorry for your loss is okay, but the statement is almost generic. Here are some pointers on expressing condolence:

  • Consider the deceased person’s age. “He lived long, and many people benefited from his contribution to their lives. He will be missed.”
  • “Although Jane Doe’s life on Earth was short, she made a positive impact on my life as well as others. Her memory will last in my heart forever.”
  • “It is sad to hear about the sudden and painful passing of your dear (family member). My deepest and sincere sympathy goes to you and your family.”
  • “There are no words to express my sorrow for your loss. May you find comfort in the loving memories you shared while he was alive. Please accept my condolences.”
  • “May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead.”
  • “I extend my deepest sympathies to you and your family. John Doe lived an exemplary life. He taught us a lot about how to be the person we needed to be. I am fortunate to have known him.”
  • “In this time of sorrow, we extend to you our heartfelt condolences. May our Lord comfort you and your loved ones.”
  • “No one can prepare you for a loss; it comes like a swift wind. Please take comfort in knowing that he is resting in the arms of our Lord.”
  • “Thinking of you, during this time of loss. When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you.”
  • “I am sharing in your sorrow with love and friendship — my condolences. Sometimes in situations like this, having a friend available to talk with and listen makes a world of difference. I will keep in touch with you.”
  • “A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts, through us, they live on. My sympathy.”
  • Quote a proverb or appropriate statement from an author or public figure.

Summary, in addition to verbal expressions of condolences, sending a hand-written card or note, is meaningful to the bereaved. Making known your thoughts on paper gives lasting memories of reflection and comfort to those receiving your words by way of pen and paper. Communicating empathy, sorrow, and support are time-honored, somewhat of a tradition done through centuries.

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